Cameras that Look Through Walls

There is a phenomenal growth in demand for advanced camera quality, what with users looking to capture realistic images of high megapixels. Cameras with high megapixel count are quite common today, and for a long time now the world has witnessed only incremental improvements in this… (Featured image is intended for representational purpose alone and has been sourced from https://www.goodfreephotos.com/business-and-technology/row-of-cameras.jpg.php

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There is a phenomenal growth in demand for advanced camera quality, what with users looking to capture realistic images of high megapixels. Cameras with high megapixel count are quite common today, and for a long time now the world has witnessed only incremental improvements in this technology. As the next big step, researchers are developing cameras that can look through the walls. The technology behind the camera is evolving from megapixels to computational imagining.

Computational imaging has diverse real-life applications. This technology can be used in car braking system; the car halts immediately when a vehicle unexpectedly arrives from a corner. It can also be used in rescue missions for locating survivors in a collapsed or fire trapped building. The technology can also find its application in autonomous driving vehicles.

Cameras are being equipped to capture high-quality images even if the input data is just a few photons of light. This involves the use of ultra-fast and ultra-sensitive technology that can perform complex mathematical calculations to draw images out of a few photons. Photon cameras are used to capture photon particles present in light. The camera can capture an image in low light, also, it captures the photon reflected from an object hidden from the view of the camera.

Earlier researchers could identify objects behind a wall or hidden from the view using various technologies such as radar technology, variations of laser illuminated detection and ranging (LIDAR), and speckle-based imaging. One recent development has been made in the field of radar technology by a group of researchers at Lincoln Lab, MIT. The technology enables capturing of a real-time video of objects lying behind a wall. Further, experiments based on mobile radar Wi-Fi system were carried-out to detect objects behind walls.

Alternatively, researchers at Heriot-Watt University have carried-out an experiment in which they claim to detect movement of objects hidden at the corners of a wall. This research incorporates a single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) camera and a femtosecond pulsed laser. SPAD cameras can capture images at a frame rate of 20 billion frames/sec.

WIPO application WO2016063028A1 details a method to detect a specimen position, when the specimen is moving or is at rest. It also explains the techniques to derive a probability distribution for the position of the specimen.

WIPO application WO2016063028A1 illustrates a setup to carry out the experiment.

Fig. 2 of WIPO application WO2016063028A1 illustrates a Spherical wavefront formation and real data.

In addition, a paper titled “Neural network identification of people hidden from view with a single-pixel single-photon detector” focuses on the use of an Artificial Neural Network (ANN). The ANN is used in computational imaging for phase-object identification, pose identification of human-shaped objects and number/ letter identification. The paper illustrates the use of supervised machine learning algorithm to classify people hidden from line of sight while being located at varying positions.

The camera can change the way we understand our world. These technology add-ons such as computational imaging will enable Extrasensory Perception (ESP), which otherwise would have been impossible to achieve. It is not long when we can capture a complete phenomenon of light falling on water or a rainbow formation and so on. Let’s wait to see the unseen.

(Featured image is intended for representational purpose alone and has been sourced from https://www.goodfreephotos.com/business-and-technology/row-of-cameras.jpg.php

Vibhuti Kumar
Vibhuti Kumar

Vibhuti is a technology enthusiast and loves exploring gadgets by decoding the software used behind it. An electrical & electronics engineer by profession, he keeps himself updated by reading technology blogs and whitepapers.


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